Republicans failed to win a single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in New England this year, though they hoped they could win multiple races across the region.
The region’s final congressional race was decided in Maine Thursday when election officials announced incumbent Democrat Jared Golden had defeated Republican Bruce Poliquin in the state’s 2nd congressional district after tabulating votes in the state’s ranking voting system.
Golden, a conservative Democrat, has represented Maine’s sprawling Northern District since 2019.
“I am deeply honored that the people of Maine’s 2nd Circuit have chosen me to represent them for another two-year term in Washington,” said Golden.
The result was a major disappointment for Republicans, who were hoping to ride a red wave to victory in many purple house districts in New England, including Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Many Republicans campaigned over concerns about rising inflation and the economy.
Nationally, Republicans have flipped several seats in the House of Representatives and are expected to win a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
But the only Republican in Congress from New England will remain Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a moderate who won another six-year term in 2020. Democrats control the region’s other 32 House and Senate seats and have won every contested federal race this month.
“Republicans misjudged the voter intensity on the abortion issue,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and the Political Library at Saint Anselm College.
Levesque said the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which ended federal protections for abortion rights, spurred many Democrats and independent voters across the region and outweighed any advantage Republicans might have had amid concerns about the economy.
Some New England Republicans have also been hampered by the long shadow of former President Donald Trump, Levesque said. Trump lost every New England state in both 2016 and 2020 and is deeply unpopular in many parts of the region.
Levesque said the former president’s unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud and his various social grievances are “not issues that resonate with New England voters.”
That appeared to be the case in New Hampshire, where Democrats Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas easily outperformed Trump-backed Republicans.
In the state’s U.S. Senate Council, incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan effortlessly defeated Don Bolduc, a Trump-backed conservative who initially accepted the former president’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Hassan’s victory came despite perceptions that she was vulnerable, having won by just 1,017 votes in 2016. That victory also helped Democrats retain control of the US Senate, which many analysts said was in jeopardy ahead of Election Day.
Trump-based candidates also fought in other battleground states across the country, including Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada. In an interview with CNN on Monday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the Republican party needs to move away from Trump, who launched his third presidential bid this week.
Baker told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the election shows that “voters want collaborative elected officials.”
“Voters generally don’t care about extremism, especially in battleground states,” Baker said. “They just aren’t.”
According to Levesque, that’s especially true in New England.
“We’ve seen a development in New England where Republicans in federal office are an endangered species,” he said.